Jon Siegel replies: Mineral oil (usually purchased at a drug store) is the best finish for functional kitchenware because it has absolutely no odor or taste. Mineral oil has no color and simply enhances the natural color of the wood. Application is totally foolproof (dipping is the quickest) since mineral oil never dries—it just soaks in. The appearance of the final finish depends entirely on the fineness of the sanding, but after years of use and many washings, none of that will matter. Kitchenware finished with mineral oil should be washed in very hot water and a little dish soap. I personally own dinner plates and bowls that I estimate have been washed over 5,000 times and they don’t look very different from when I made them 40 years ago.